Edited: 6/30/16: Removed irrelevant ANs and answers to questions sections, fixed a few tiny plot-holes and inconsistencies, tried to improve characterization, went through wave one of grammar fixes, tried to ease up on some cliches I didn't know about when I'd started writing this, and made somethings a bit clearer.
Edit2: 5/18/18: Second wave of grammar fixes and took out some unnecessary cliches/wording.
An important AN:
Welcome ladies and gentlemen. This is my first ever Danny Phantom Fanfiction and I certainly hope you'll enjoy it! I used to watch Danny Phantom for a long time and I had enjoyed stories on here before. Now, years later, I'm actually a member on the site and am somewhat confident of my skill as a writer and storyteller and I finally get to do this thing!
My idea of where Amity Park is in the United States:
I've seen various different views about where Amity Park is. The most common is Illinois, but I've also seen Oregon, Texas, and Minnesota. After looking at the wiki and considering all the details, I've decided to go with Indiana. Illinois and Indiana both make the most sense given the information provided, but I decided Indiana. Indiana is a bit closer to Lake Erie and in Phantom Planet, it appears to zoom out of Indiana when it's zooming out of Amity Park. This is just how it will be for this story, so use any others in your stories if you feel the need. That's the magic about not knowing where Amity Park definitively is. :)
My idea of a timeline in the Danny Phantom world:
Here's how things will be in THIS story.
Note: I am aware of the various issues that arise with this timeline. This is simply how it has to be for the purposes of this story. (One extra note is that the episodes in canon aren't the only ghost attacks that happened; they are just the attacks that we were shown in episodes. This partially accounts for periods with barely any episodes and periods that have a bunch close together. The show was only showing noteworthy moments.)
1. Danny was fourteen when he had his accident, like the intro song always states. Which for my purposes occurred in the month of September of Danny's Freshman Year.
2. Sam's birthday will be October and Tucker's December
3. Danny turned fifteen the January after (Added note: birthdays aren't canon. I decided them)
4. Prisoners of Love happens in May
5. Episodes after Prisoners of Love and before Fright Knight happen in June and early the next school year. No episodes show their freshmen summer (summer before sophomore year).
6. Fright Knight is Halloween
7. Danny turns Sixteen sometime after a Fright Before Christmas (Added note: yes all those episodes happened between October and December, I couldn't find a way around it. Lucky in Love shows a water park that is somehow heated or they had strangely warm weather, it's another issue that's hard to rationalize)
8. Reality Trip happens their sophomore summer (the summer before they go into junior year)
9. I place Torrent of Terror in November of that year, during the beginning of their Junior year
10. Danny is seventeen by March which is when I place Urban Jungle
11. Claw of the Wild is then in August of their Senior year followed by D-Stablized in September (Which is where WE are now in this story).
*If this is too confusing and you would like a highly simplified version: The first two thirds of season one - freshmen year, the last bit of season one to the end of season two - sophomore year, third season to Claw of the Wild - junior year, Claw of the Wild marks the beginning of senior year. D-Stablized in September, which is where WE are now in this story (Using this method you can imagine some of the episodes in these stretches being reordered slightly. i.e. Lucky in Love, if you like).
Sorry if this is confusing. I believe only the most basic understanding of either of these timeline choices will be needed to enjoy the story.
This story takes place right after D-Stabilized, like literarily a day or two after. This is MY idea of how the series could have ended. I think Phantom Planet was… okay. I kinda understand that they had to rush to give the show a conclusion before it was cancelled, but there were many things that weren't given the attention they needed. Too many lose ends in my book! So here we are, a different ending that would've most likely spanned several episodes in the show. All the lose ends will be tied. Revelations the right way (not just cameos clapping in the background- I'm looking at you Valerie) with reactions from everyone, Vlad's true fate, Dani's, and even… his. Though some of it might surprise you. An evil is coming… that no one but Clockwork could see coming.
Let's begin… Oh and Sorry for the Long AN, shouldn't have to happen again :)
Disclaimer: I do not own or claim Danny Phantom or any other franchises that may be mentioned in this story!
zzz- normal separation
ooo- dream or vision separation (could be a past event of some kind)
Mental thoughts, past speech, or distant speaking unless indicated otherwise
"They say the subconscious can be more aware than our conscious. It can tell us truths that we don't notice or ones we know somewhere deep down but refuse to admit to ourselves out of fear." ~Paraphrased from an Unknown Source.
"A hero is someone who doesn't ask for change. A hero makes change. A hero doesn't broadcast by choice. A hero is a hidden hand. A hero doesn't die. A hero, once born, lives on forever in the hearts of men. A hero doesn't judge. A hero forgives. A hero doesn't choose who to save. He saves anyone, even those that can't or don't think to ask for help." ~ NoSignal
"We can't control the actions of others. We can only control our own actions." ~Paraphrased from an Unknown Source
"Caelum videre iussit, et erectos ad sidera toilere vultus." ("He bid them look to the sky and lift their faces to the stars.") ~Ovid
The wind blew softly and the stars shined above as they always did. It was fairly warm out and by all outwards appearances it was a peaceful night.
Valerie Grey was tossing and turning in her sleep. Her brows were furrowed in concentration and her fists were clenched. She had stayed up late into the night, reflecting on the events of the last few days.
The human-ghost Dani Phantom. She couldn't fully grasp what that title truly meant or it's implications. She knew Vlad appeared to be some type of hybrid as well, seeing as Phantom had told her that Danielle was a ghost that was human too and both she and Vlad had used similar looking rings to change between forms. If it was true that Vlad was a hybrid of some sort, then all this time he'd been evil. He'd been using her to do his own dirty work and she was beyond angry that she'd played right into his hand for so long. Vlad seemed to be so different from Danielle and it was this difference that made her re-evaluate something the Ghost Boy and said during one of their many bouts.
"Ghosts are just like humans. Some are good and some aren't so good. They're all just as different and unique."
She had tried to systematically apply it to ghosts and half-ghosts she'd seen. The half-ghosts in particular seemed to provide a good example of what Danny Phantom had told her. Somewhere good, Dani, and some were bad, Vlad. It made sense and it started her down the road of wondering if Danny Phantom was truly the good guy… uh ghost… he'd been saying he was from the get go. Ultimately, she had concluded that she was at a dead end with her deducing because another thing in common between humans and ghosts is that, they could lie. How could she ever know for certain if a ghost could tell the truth without something in it for them?
She thought back on Phantom's record and remembered some things he had done that seemingly went against what people considered good, starting with how he'd ruined her life and ending with seemingly more terrible acts of violence like theft and assaulting the old mayor. It made her wonder what the truth and a whole other round of circular reasoning was really would be formed. She had eventually surrendered to sleep, but her thoughts had followed her even into unconsciousness.
She was moving swiftly after him on her board, her thrusters whirring in her ears. It was dark out so not many people were on the streets of Amity or maybe that was just part of the convenience of being in a dream. She fired several crackling laser shots at Phantom, making him dip and dive to avoid them. He seemed to stand out like a target, his white glowing sections of his suit and figure in contrast with the dark pavement, buildings, and sky. He was shouting something at her in fear and worry, but she couldn't make out any words. His face was somewhat frantic and he flinched at each movement she made. She wasn't concerned with his false fear though; after all, this was the ghost that had ruined her life. Many people are decidedly one-sided in dreams. A tiny thought echoed in her head as though there was something she had forgotten, but it was easily smothered.
What does it mean if something can feel pain? Does pain make them sentient? Animals can't speak for themselves. What was the difference? Where is the line drawn?
Something seemed to grab Phantom's attention from her for only a moment and that's all it took. Her shot whizzed through the air, small shockwaves of energy echoing from it, and struck him in the back; ripping and burning through his hazmat suit then his ectoplasmic body, it caused some shimmering green ectoplasm to bubble and drip through the wound now there. He yelled out in muted pain and fell to the hard pavement. He silently cried out with no voice of his own and convulsed on the ground as he was electrocuted by the aftershocks of her special lasers.
She jerked a bit when he finally went limp and his eyes slid closed in unconsciousness. Dirt and pieces of pavement clung to his body and swam in the ectoplasm that was pouring from the wound on his back. Her eyes widened slightly in fear and confusion when a blinding white flash obscured her vision. When she reopened her eyes and faced her prey after the light was gone, her scream tore through the dreamscape.
Valerie had never been one to wake from nightmares violently; she simply didn't scare easy. Today was an exception though. She jerked so hard when she woke that she almost ended up out of her bed and on the floor. She pulled back to prevent her body from continuing to roll off the edge of the mattress. Then she hurriedly got up, still in a panic, and made her way to the bathroom. After splashing her face a few times with cold water, she stared at herself in the mirror. She couldn't get rid of the terror though, nor the picture still fresh on the back of her eyelids. For when that flash in her dream had disappeared, the one she had gunned down hadn't been Danny Phantom… It had been Danny Fenton.
The warning bell rang in the hallway as Danny finished his third attempt to open his locker.
Tucker, Danny's best friend, was blabbing to Sam about something excitedly. He was wearing his traditional cargo pants, yellow long sleeve shirt, hiking boots, beret, and a nice-looking watch on his left wrist. Just yesterday he'd gotten his contacts in so his glasses were absent from his face for today, though he still wore them sometimes because he liked them. He'd kept his hair buzzed too.
"I mean eight different kinds, Sam! I know you don't like meat, but still you have to be a tiny bit impressed," Tucker spoke and gave a semi-triumphant smirk.
Sam, Danny's other best friend, gave Tucker an unamused glare. She was wearing a purple undershirt that stopped above her navel, a plain black shirt that was over her undershirt and hung off one shoulder, a black and green skirt, purple fish-net leggings and combat boots, which sported purple laces. She had her hair in it's normal fashion except she'd lowered her ponytail a bit and placed it near the back of her head rather than on the side. Tucker's smirk started to disappear as she replied to him.
"I just find it gross. Can't you see you're slowly killing yourself by eating that garbage? Not the meat, I understand some people like it even if humans don't need it, but with all that grease!? And that kind of excess?!" Sam shook her head and sighed disappointedly.
"Maybe it could be slowly killing me, but at least it tastes good and a life is only a life if it's worth living!" Tucker exclaimed.
Sam shook her head yet again. Both friends flinched when they heard a bang and looked at Danny, who was busy softly banging his head against his locker. Danny had on a black shirt with a white long-sleeved jacket, which had a tiny FentonWorks moniker on the breast, some jeans and red and white sneakers. He'd let his hair grow out some and the hair at the nape of his neck was a bit longer than it had been in recent years. Though they had changed some physically and their clothing choices had evolved, not much else was different for the current seniors of Casper High.
"You okay dude?" Tucker asked with a frown.
"We need to hurry, Danny. We're going to be late for English with Mr. Lancer," Sam said with a bit of impatience.
"Can't get my stupid locker open," Danny groaned and looked left and right down the hallway to see no one there. He let a tiny smile come to his face and he slid his had through the locker with intangibility and grinned triumphantly when he fished out his book. "Gotcha!"
"Normally I'd scold you for using your powers like that, but I really don't want another detention. Let's get going. We've got like-" Sam started just as the late bell rang, "No time left." She deadpanned.
The three teens sighed and wandered towards the classroom. As soon as they walked in, Lancer spotted them.
"Explanation for your tardiness, Mr. Fenton, Mr. Foley, Mrs. Manson?" Lancer drawled.
"I um… got my backpack stuck in my locker. It was my fault, Mr. Lancer. Sam and Tuck were just trying to help," Danny rambled out an excuse with hesitant if not practiced ease.
"Hmmm… I suppose. Honestly, I just don't want to even bother today. Sit down and get ready to take some notes. I'm going to assume everyone has finished the last few chapters I assigned?"
As Danny, Sam, and Tucker got to their seats, Mr. Lancer received a mixture of confident and hesitant nods from his class. The teacher turned to the board, grabbed a piece of chalk, and started to write. "I know you're all excited that this is your last year of high school, but hopefully you will at least try to get decent marks," Lancer commented, unimpressed.
The day went on as normal until Lunch. Danny, Sam, and Tucker had gotten their bag lunches from their lockers since they'd sworn off eating the Cafeteria food after an incident last week. Let's just say that Danny had flown through one of the refrigerators on accident during a ghost fight and had been horrified at the kind of stuff they made the lunches with. Yep they were certainly never eating that food again.
"Honestly they could've just served Oatmeal. It's not hard and they can't mess that up. I mean seriously, it isn't that expensive or involved! It's even not got meat in it!" Sam expressed in an exasperated tone.
"Why you subject yourself to that kind of torture… I'll never know."
"Just drop it, Tucker."
Danny was tuning out their meat versus veggies argument that almost always appeared, even if only briefly, every day. Sam was leaning slightly on Danny, though he didn't seem to notice, and Tucker was leaning on the table to get a good view of Sam as they talked. They had all ended up eating on the same side of their lunch table that day.
Danny glanced across the lunch room and saw Valerie had been staring at him. He cocked his head in confusion at her and saw her look away nervously. He glanced behind himself to see if she'd been looking at someone else and when he looked back, she was walking out the room.
At Danny's voice, Tucker and Sam snapped out of their debate immediately and looked at their best friend.
"What?" Sam asked and tried to look and see what Danny had been looking at.
"Well it's just- AAGGH!" Danny yelped before he found his face inches from Dash's. Sam and Tucker had jumped a bit in surprise at the suddenness before a deep frown replaced the grimace on Sam's face. Tucker didn't look as hostile as Sam and tried to feint nervousness, but Tucker never liked it when his best buddy, or himself for that matter, got picked on.
Dash really didn't perturb them much anymore, but for them to suddenly act indifferent or even rebellious would be a strange one-eighty in Danny and Tucker's perceived personalities; it was part of their cover to help keep Danny's secret under wraps. Ghost hunting had changed them slowly from timid and naive young teens into young adults that were mature for their ages. Sam, on the other hand, could still show rebellion since that had always been part of her personality from the start.
"Hey Fentonia! Did ya think I'd forgotten about ya today?" Dash taunted as heads poked up from their tables to watch the show that seemed to always come with their lunch. At this point, everyone seemed to find it entertaining whenever Danny and Dash butted heads; sometimes Danny would even fight back, though never physically, and those encounters were the most interesting to watch.
"Of course not, Dash," Danny sighed in irritation and tried to shift a bit while dangling in the air by his t-shirt front. Over time, Danny had grown too tall for Dash to put him in the lockers, but he still hadn't been able to out-pace Dash in the height department. Swirlies and humiliation were still options, at least ones that caused Danny discomfort. Dash's punches had stopped hurting half as bad when Danny had received his powers and over time the initial and lasting pain from Dash's fists had lessened each year since then. At this point they felt no worse than a pinch.
"Tch, you sound bored," Dash growled.
Danny cocked an eyebrow, "You do the same thing every- single- day. How can I not be?"
"You're going to regret that, Fenturd!"
Danny actually gulped slightly at that and the look in Dash's eyes. Me and my big mouth.
"Do you see anybody?!"
"Uh, I kinda don't have the bird's eye view like you do, dude."
"Aw come on, Tuck!"
"No one here, but you need to check around first!"
Sam and Tucker watched a bit anxiously and diligently as Danny looked around from his position on the flag pole. Dash had hoisted the young Fenton by his boxers, to the very top. Most would've probably been afraid of breaking something or even possible death from that height, but Danny was just annoyed at his… uncomfortable snag. He turned invisible and then intangible before appearing next to his friends on the ground and shifting his jeans with a frown.
"He still couldn't think of something original, even after I practically dared him," Danny mused and then let out a laugh of annoyance.
"Just shows how idiotic he is," Sam said with a shrug.
"Well two more class periods for the day, then we can go to the Nasty Burger and I can try that eight-meat wonder!" Tucker declared excitedly, as the three headed back for the school entrance.
"We have to go on patrol tonight. Don't forget, guys," Danny added. He reached back without looking, automatically knowing Sam was about to pass his backpack to him. She had held it for him once Dash had shown up.
"Yeah, we know." They both replied with Sam nodding and Tucker glued to his PDA at the moment.
Tucker suddenly grinned and popped his head up from his PDA, "I remembered something! It's going to be my birthday in a few months!"
Sam rolled her eyes and Danny perked up.
"Huh, oh yeah," Danny replied and gave a shake of his head and let out a slightly bitter laugh, "So busy I can't even remember my friend's own birthday."
"You hardly remembered your own birthday earlier this year. That's what we're here for, dude," Tucker grinned and threw an arm around Danny's shoulders.
"I'm going to be eighteen first you know, because I'm the eldest of the group," Sam smirked and soon threw her arm over Danny's shoulders as well.
"Aw geez Sam. Way to deflate my excitement," Tucker pouted.
Danny laughed lightly at his two friends, "Thanks guys." As the three friends continued walking with their arms around each other's shoulders, Sam asked a question.
"By the way, what were you going to say at lunch? You know, before Dash grabbed you?"
Danny frowned as the trio all moved their arms back to their sides, "It was weird… Valerie was like staring at me, but she looked so sad and then she left the lunch room after she noticed I'd seen her."
"Huh, maybe she saw Dash stalking up to ya and pitied you," Tucker suggested jokingly, before Sam elbowed him in the gut hard.
"Valerie's not that sympathetic, even towards most humans, going by our run-ins with her," Sam grumbled and then looked at Danny, "Could you give me a better idea of what you thought she was feeling?"
Danny sighed, "By the look in her eyes, it was almost like… she was ashamed of something."
"You… you don't think?" Tucker suddenly stopped walking and the other two turned to face him.
"What, Tuck?" Danny asked.
"You don't think she figured out you're Phantom, do you?" Tucker asked in response.
Danny and Sam's eyes grew as large as dinner plates.
"Oh God. You think she could've? But how?!" Danny asked, feeling his chest tighten and his breath quicken.
"Whoa let's calm down, Danny. We don't know for certain," Sam soothed and put a hand back on his shoulder, which seemed to calm him some; his breathing even slowed. Danny had always been an anxious person and the one thing that she and Tuck had noticed over time, especially after the lab accident that gave him his ghost powers, was that he calmed easier with human contact. Jazz had even hypothesized that he'd gained an increased need for similar contact after the accident because of how often he'd phased out of his friends' grip. "Let's just keep going about our business like nothing's happened. If she does know, then she'll probably come and talk to you at some point."
"Yeah I mean, I don't think Valerie would rat you out or anything if she found out," Tucker added confidently, as they resumed their walk to the class. "I mean most people would think she was nuts, right?"
"Unless mom would feel like doing a test or two to be safe," Danny sighed. Sam and Tucker gave Danny a slightly worried and sympathetic look and hurried to catch up.
After the trio had finished school for the day, they'd gone to the Nasty Burger to fulfill Tucker's wishes and of course do what teenagers do and hangout.
"That's just… ew," Sam mumbled as she watched Tucker stuff his face with the eight-meat wonder. She had finished her salad long ago and Danny was also actually grossed out by Tucker's eating. Sam looked over at Danny's plate which had some chicken strips and a salad on it. She noticed he'd not eaten much. "Danny, you need to eat more. Remember what Clockwork said not too long ago about your genetic make-up? You have to eat more than normal people or your ghost half will start uncontrollably feeding on people's emotions to supplement itself."
Danny looked at her and frowned sheepishly, "Yeah, yeah I know… I just. I guess I'm not that hungry. I can't stop worrying about Valerie. What if… what if she really does rat me out? Who knows what could happen? Everyone might run me out of town! The GiW would be out for my head even more than they already are!"
Sam sighed in sympathy for her friend and placed a hand on his, "We won't let that happen. I really don't think you'd be run out of town either. Remember how proud your parents were of you before you took their memories away with the Reality Gauntlet?"
"Yeah yeah… but what if… I mean it could only take the wrong way for them to find out for it to turn out differently."
Both Danny and Sam turned to face Tucker when they heard him snorting and trying to contain laughter.
"Sorry if I interrupted something," Tucker giggled and motioned to their hands. Sam's was still resting on top of Danny's. She jerked away in embarrassment and Danny hurriedly slid his into his lap, while both friends gave Tucker a glare.
"WE AREN'T LOVEBIRDS!"
The talk was halted when a fine blue mist came from Danny's open mouth. The atmosphere began to change and other people in the restaurant started to get nervous.
"Ghost Child!" Skulker's voice boomed from outside.
Danny sighed, "It's always too much to expect a normal day." With that he got up and ran to the restroom.
Sam and Tucker looked at each other before glancing outside after someone announced that Danny Phantom had arrived. The two friends left some money for their meal and ran outside with their game faces on.
They saw Skulker looking down on Danny.
"Today, your pelt will lay at the foot of my bed!" Skulker declared with his arms wide, trying to look intimidating.
Danny was floating idly in front of him when he shook his head, making his white hair flutter a bit, "I don't think I'll ever get used to how disturbing that threat is. Yikes!" Danny yelped and dodged upwards while doing the splits. A green energy blast from Skulker's gun flew under his legs and struck an empty part of the street, leaving a black burn.
"Pay more attention, Ghost Child, else this hunt will be much too easy." Skulker grinned.
Danny frowned as a more serious demeanor came over him. People from the restaurant below started to peek out of the windows and front door to get a better look at the Ghost Hero fighting. By now, most people really liked Danny Phantom and trusted him. There were still a few that were suspicious or even rude, but Danny simply tried to be neutral with them.
"Who said anything about easy?" Danny spoke calmly with only a smirk on his face and then vanished. Skulker brought an ecto-scanner to his eye and started to look around for Danny's invisible form. He caught sight of it right before he received an ecto-powered kick to the gut.
"Gah!" Skulker cried out and crashed into the ground, cracking the parking lot asphalt in a circle around him and sending up a small cloud of dust.
"Don't tell me you've had enough already Skulker!?" Danny shouted. After a moment of silence and waiting for the dust to settle, Danny cocked one eyebrow. Without warning, a whip of energy shot from the dust cloud and wrapped around Danny's ankle. Almost immediately the whip lit up with electricity.
"AAAAAaaaHHH!" Danny screamed in pain and thrashed in the air. He pulled his head up, going against the compulsion to arch his back from the electricity traveling through him, and shot Skulker in the chest with ice rays from his eyes. Skulker's form froze over and the whip's energy fizzled out since the circuit was cut off. Then the whip slid off Danny's ankle.
Danny smirked and went to grab the Fenton Thermos on his back when it was shot from his hand and sent spinning through the air, making a clunk noise when it hit the ground.
"Not yet," Skulker growled, "I said today you will hang on my wall and I meant it." Before Danny could react, Skulker shot a spider web of ectoplasmic goo at him and plastered him to a nearby building. Danny heard a few people gasp and some started talking worriedly. He briefly saw, form the corner of his eye, Sam shove Tucker out into going after the Thermos, while she ran up with a wrist ray pointed at Skulker and began to fire. Skulker turned and aimed at her in return. Danny gasped a made a snap decision to use a weak Ghostly Wail since his ice rays weren't damaging Skulker enough at the moment and his mouth was the only other thing free. He took a deep breath of air just as Skulker whipped around and shot another glob of goo at him. "Oh no you don't!" The hunter snarled.
"Mmph!" Danny grunted from the impact the back of his head made with the building due to recoil and found more goo plastered over his mouth. He strained against the goo around his chest and arms and tried to pull up his legs to no avail. His eyes widened when Skulker turned back around and aimed at Sam and Tucker.
"Let Danny Phantom go!" Sam shouted. She and Tucker both tried not to call him just Danny when he was in his Phantom persona in public, especially the times they jumped in to help hunt the ghosts.
"Afraid I can't do that. As for you two, I can't have you trying to come after us," Skulker grinned and charged up his gun. Sam did the same with hers as Tucker started typing furiously on his PDA.
"Tucker! Can't you hack into his suit any faster!?" Sam yelled and glanced up at her struggling friend. Danny was still trying to wrestle out of his bindings.
"Scarlett and I are working as fast as we can, Sam!" Tucker yelped as his fingers flew across the keys. He had a look of concentration on his face and his tongue was starting to stick out slightly from the side of his mouth.
Skulker growled when he heard that and fired. Sam fired at the same time; the two blasts collided in midair and exploded, forcing Sam onto her rear and sending Tucker to his stomach, making his PDA fumble from his grasp.
Skulker smiled calmly and started powering up his gun again to aim at Sam and Tucker while Danny thrashed more fiercely in his bonds. Skulker suddenly faltered when he felt a rush of warmth radiating from Danny's direction. Everyone turned and saw waves of heat pulsing from Danny Phantom's form.
He could feel a warmth and then a fierce burning, igniting his chest as his anger grew. Skulker was attacking his best friends. It was him he wanted! There was no reason for Skulker to attack them! He felt the intense burning spread out from his chest to the rest of his body and then he opened his eyes…
Danny's eyes turned a bright orange-yellow and pale orange-yellow ghost flames with white highlights started igniting on the goo, making it start to melt.
"Danny?" Sam whispered under her breath.
Danny was suddenly freed and was glaring at Skulker. He shot forwards as the same ghostly orange-yellow and white flames erupted around his form, turning Phantom into something of a ghostly comet. Skulker was so surprised, that he didn't even budge until Danny crashed into him. His metal suit started to melt and screech before Skulker activated his jet pack's turbo boost and flew up to get out of the way of Danny's path. Danny immediately started to lose altitude and he crashed into the ground with such force that it dug a track in the street. The flames died down and Phantom laid limply in the crater. The right side of Skulker's face and chest was now partially melted due to Phantom's attack.
Sam was terrified that Danny would revert to Fenton right then and there. Danny had been trying to practice not reverting forms while asleep or unconscious, but she was hoping that all the work they'd done recently in training would be enough.
Sam was halfway to Danny with Tucker still typing furiously on his PDA when they heard a familiar voice. They looked up and saw Valerie, as the Red Huntress, hovering in front of Skulker on her hover-board.
"I have no time for you right now, Huntress. Phantom is almost mine," Skulker growled and started heading towards Danny, Sam and Tucker. Valerie seemed to freeze when she caught sight of Phantom lying still in the ditch ahead. The visage of her dream came to the forefront of her mind and she did something she never thought she would do. She fired at Skulker first, causing him to falter in the air and strike the ground; his jet pack started to spark and smoke from the damage it had received.
Why would I do that? Am I protecting Phantom? Focus Val, focus. It was just a dream. A very disturbing, but irrational dream.
Valerie compromised with herself and decided to handle Skulker first, regardless. "Don't turn your back on me, scum!"
Skulker grumbled in annoyance and pulled out a large bazooka from seemingly nowhere. "I WILL have his pelt this time! You will NOT interfere."
Sam took a glance back at Danny and saw he was panting heavily. She ran closer as Tucker continued to watch Valerie and Skulker face off. She reached him and placed a hand on his shoulder, flinching and pulling back slightly in surprise. He was burning up. Danny's temperature was on the low side compared to humans, but warm for ghosts. This fever, if you could call it that, was high for even normal human standards.
"Tucker!" Sam hissed quietly and got the techno geek's attention. "Danny is not looking good. We need to make a tactical retreat."
Tucker nodded and furrowed his brows before continuing to work on his PDA.
"If I can just hack through this last firewall that Technus must be responsible for, then I can access Skulker's weaponry. I think he carries a smoke-screen. It would be the perfect way to slip away with 'Phantom' on our shoulders."
"Okay okay, geez!" Tucker worked for what seemed to be another couple of minutes before a grin split his face. "I'm the greatest!" Tucker looked up and clicked a button.
Skulker suddenly froze and his arm shot up above his head against his will, stiffly, holding a grenade-like device.
"What in the name of the Infinite Realms!?" Skulker yelled out in frustration as the device opened slightly, letting a dense white fog pour out and cover the area. Valerie and the crowds started to cough, while everyone's, including Skulker's, vision was obscured.
Sam and Tucker lifted Danny onto their shoulders and took off into a nearby alleyway.
"Danny feels like he sat in a sauna for several minutes too many," Tucker expressed half-jokingly and continued to wheeze as they hurried along.
"Not the time for joking, Tucker. When we get far enough away, we need to call Jazz. Remember Danny said that she's on a research-oriented break from College? She can bring her car and we can find a safe place to figure out what's wrong with Danny."
"That was so cool! Does this mean Danny can use fire powers or something now?" Tucker said excitedly.
"Who knows, but we need to focus on getting him better right now," Sam returned.
They got deep enough into the maze of alleyways for Tucker to slip out from holding Danny and grab Sam's phone from her. She continued to support their friend.
"Hello, Jazz?" Tucker asked after Jazz's voice had answered.
"Tucker? What are you doing with Sam's phone?"
"It's Danny. Something's happened an-"
"What!? Danny!? What happened!? Is he okay!?"
"Yeah yeah, he's fine… I think. Look, we need you to come and pick us up in your car. Danny's still out of it and it wouldn't be safe in his uhhh… condition to go to FentonWorks."
"Okay okay, I'll be right there."
"Have the coordinates… now?" Tucker asked and clicked a button on his PDA.
"Yep! They just showed up on my car's GPS. On my way!"
Tucker then hung up.
"Yeah… how's Danny?"
Sam glanced down at her friend and saw he was still unconscious, panting with sweat creating a sheen over his paling skin.
"Who would've guessed even ghost sweat glows a bit?" Tucker joshed but silenced himself after a glare from Sam came his way.
"I wonder what made this happen? Does a half ghost just suddenly pick up another power randomly like that? Does a full ghost?" Sam mused.
"I don't know… maybe we could go visit Clockwork if Danny doesn't get better soon," Tucker suggested, just as they heard Jazz pull up next to the alleyway in her small car. Sam and Tucker got Danny on their shoulders again and got into the vehicle as Jazz started to drive.
"So, what happened?" Jazz asked, barely taking her gaze from the road to only cast a glance in the mirror back at them.
"We think Danny unlocked another power or something. At the moment though, he's just really hot. He has a fever that's high for normal human standards which is bad since you know Danny's normal body temp is around eighty-nine to ninety," Sam explained.
"Wait… did he use pyrokinesis or something?" Jazz asked.
"It… it seemed that way," Sam replied hesitantly, "We're considering going to see Clockwork if Danny can't pull out of it soon-"
"Mmm…" Danny groaned and arched his back slightly. A white ring of energy and light appeared around his waist and he suddenly transformed into his human form. His body relaxed again and he continued to shiver from the fever in his sleep.
"He… he transformed while unconscious?" Tucker asked and quirked an eyebrow.
"Huh, maybe that bit of practice helped some," Jazz suggested as they got closer to the Fenton's home.
"Jazz, it might be dangerous to go to your house," Tucker spoke up.
"I think we should take the Specter Speeder to Clockwork's. A high fever can damage the human body severely. This isn't something we should use the 'wait and see' tactic for." Jazz answered when she'd reached the driveway and parked, "Besides, Mom and Dad are out looking for that ghost Danny was fighting, Skulker, right?"
"Okay you have a point," Tucker nodded.
Sam glanced down at Danny's form and gripped his shoulder. After Tucker and Jazz had started getting out, she spoke. "It'll be alright, Danny."
A few moments later, they were floating through the Ghost Zone. It's green swirling atmosphere was constantly alight with energy and dotted with various doors to ghosts' lairs. Tucker was the one driving the Speeder since he was more familiar with the layout of the known parts of the Ghost Zone than Jazz. Jazz and Sam were tending to Danny in the meantime. They had retrieved one of the First Aid kits from one of the Specter Speeder's compartments.
"Hundred and one," Jazz said worriedly as she pulled the thermometer from Danny's mouth.
"Dude! That's like twelve points above normal! If he was an average human he'd be dea… dead," Tucker finished lamely. Sam and Jazz's faces were deadpan. "You know what I mean!" Tucker grumbled in frustration.
"Yeah yeah," Sam answered and looked back down at Danny's trembling form with a frown.
Danny felt like his body was on fire. The only thing in recent memory he could think of equating to this discomfort was when Undergrowth had tried to take over and he had felt his body was going to freeze from the inside out due to his developing cryokinesis.
He shivered, on his hands and knees in the dark void that was around him.
I'm still here… Your time is up… Ten years… me.
He could hear horrid laughter, echoing off of some invisible objects and into his ears. Danny went to clutch his head and froze in horror. The tips of his fingers didn't touch white hair, but open flames… white… glowing flames licking from between his fingers. He did the first thing that his body insisted and screamed at the top of his lungs.
I'm still here… You… promised?
The voice seemed to fade a bit at the end before the fever induced nightmare ended.
"He won't stop thrashing!" Sam yelled as Danny started to pull against her and Jazz's best efforts to keep him still. After growing older and hunting ghosts through the years, all the members of Team Phantom had become quite strong. Then again even if Danny hadn't ever developed at all, he would still have ghost powers and super strength. If they didn't get to Clockwork soon, then he would get out of their grasp and hurt himself, no question.
"I can see his tower!" Tucker yelped.
Tucker halted the vehicle in front of the tower as Jazz and Sam started carrying Danny. Before they could even approach the door, Clockwork flashed into view in front of them.
"Here," Clockwork spoke and pulled Danny from the girls' hold and into his arms, "Follow me." He turned and the doors opened on their own allowing them all inside.
After climbing the clock tower to its main chamber, Clockwork carefully placed Danny on a recessed stone ledge, letting it act as a bed. The clocks' ticks and the noises from the cogs in the large room were the only sounds until Sam spoke up.
"Clockwork, what's happened to him?" Sam asked.
Clockwork held up a hand and walked over to a table with various objects on it. He picked one up which had the appearance of a frisbee. It was made of metal with a blue stone material of some sorts, making up most of the center. He floated back over to Danny and placed the device on the young halfa's chest. Something clicked and the blue stone in the center started to glow.
"Now I can answer questions. That device is very effective against all ghostly flames or ecto-generated heat. It's cooling his body temperature as we speak," Clockwork explained.
"What happened?" Tucker asked, parroting Sam's previous question.
"Danny has unlocked yet another ability, pyrokinesis."
"How'd he manage that?" Jazz asked, "It was kinda random and sudden."
Clockwork changed into his old man form, "His cryokinesis came to him almost as sudden, did it not? From the beginning there was a hint of such powers inside of him. His ghost sense was an indicator of his cryokinesis and believe it or not, his ghost stinger ability indicated he had the potential for pyrokinesis as well."
"Wait, really?" Sam asked and then asked another question, "Does something determine what abilities they can learn or do ghosts just keep learning new things?"
Clockwork nodded. "The elemental abilities of ghosts tends to reflect either their personality or the way they died or were created. Ghosts tend to be either neutral, ice, fire, or dual core oriented. While most all ghosts can eventually practice and learn how to manipulate and move matter with general telekinesis, having an elemental core allows a ghost to actually manifest ice or fire along with their basic ectoplasmic energy. A large portion of ghosts are neutral, a smaller portion are either ice or fire, and even fewer are dual. Dual core ghosts are often created through special means and have complex obsessions or abilities. Daniel is something of a special case; as to how he became a dual core ghost, I cannot divulge a more detailed explanation of why at this time. It's possible that Danny's anger towards Skulker for attacking you both was the final crack that broke the dam holding back this power inside him."
"Wait, Danny's emotions can have that big of an effect on his abilities?" Jazz asked with a slightly troubled look on her face.
"They did when he received Vortex's powers for a time, did they not? Let me put it this way, ghosts tend to come into their core's strengths fairly soon if they so desire. Their deaths are greatly tied to their abilities. On the other hand, Daniel is still alive and because of that his more potent humanity and all its emotions, not just the ones that full ghosts tend to obsess over, give him a bit more flexibility compared to most other ghosts."
"Wait! So, because Ghosts can feel all emotions but most are focused on one or two because of their deaths or obsessions, they come into their power fairly soon and have to develop its strength over time. Danny's different because of his humanity. Being alive makes his powers grow and form differently?" Sam asked.
"Yes, there's a bit more to it, but as I said, I can't easily explain that to you at this time," Clockwork replied.
"So… can Danny only use his pyrokinesis when he's angry?" Tucker questioned.
"At the moment, most likely, but the masters of pyrokinesis who are righteous in the Ghost Zone use other methods, such as drawing on ambition or fighting spirit to bring forth the eternal flames within."
"How can Danny feel alright and control this in time for school tomorrow?" Jazz said in a bit of a panic.
"Clockwork?" Tucker asked, expecting help.
Clockwork frowned, "I can't give direct instructions to alter your choices… only info to an extent. However, don't humans get fevers too?"
Sam looked at the ghost as he shifted into his child form. An idea clicked in her head, "Wait! If we can get Danny to a temperature that would be manageable and still convince Mr. and Mrs. Fenton that Danny needs to stay home from school tomorrow, then we can wait until they're out to bring him back here and see how he can control this new power! We could come super early, help him here quick and be back at school before we're missed."
Clockwork, still in his baby form, smiled mischievously at Sam for using his hint so well.
"Can you get Danny help with controlling his power tomorrow if we can get him to you in the morning super early?" Jazz asked Clockwork.
Clockwork nodded, "That I can do. After all, even as Father Time, I still can act out my own parts in the Play of the Ages. I know a good friend that could aid him with this new power."
"Thanks Clockwork," Sam sighed.
Clockwork merely nodded and turned to look at Danny expectantly as his baby-blue eyes slowly opened and a groan left his throat.
"What hit me?"
"The ground, dude. You plowed into the street like a meteorite!" Tucker exclaimed.
Danny let his head roll over and he glanced down at some of the visible scrapes on his hands, most of the other damage would be hidden by his clothes. He glanced around and realized where they were, "How'd we get… here?"
"We thought Clockwork was the only person who could help. Do you remember what you did?" Jazz asked her little brother.
Danny was silent for a second, obviously still coming out of his sleep, when suddenly his eyes shot open and he leaned up swiftly. "I didn't hurt anybody, did I? Oh God I didn't, right?"
Sam saw the almost invisible and speedy glance Danny made towards the ghost shield containing a certain thermos at the other end of the room.
"No Danny, you didn't hurt anyone at all," Sam soothed and started to walk closer with the other two.
"Except melt a bit of Skulker's suit. Man, he's gonna be repairing that for weeks!" Tucker grinned.
"Melt?" Danny asked.
The three other teens glanced at each other before Clockwork spoke.
"It appears as though you've developed pyrokinesis, Daniel. Congratulations."
Danny seemed shocked and listened closely as Clockwork repeated what he'd told Sam, Tucker, and Jazz and Sam repeated their plan for tomorrow morning. After they finished that talk, Danny sighed and relaxed. His cheeks were still rosy from his still warm body but he was no longer sweating.
"Another ten minutes or so and you can go home until morning. I can also remove the Cryodisc from your chest. It uses a certain type of energy to 'magnetize' itself to a ghost's core to help cool it." Clockwork expressed as he switched into his middle-aged form.
"Huh, I saw some of these at Frostbite's once. I always thought they were frisbees or something," Danny laughed nervously.
"You're such a dork," Sam snorted and cuffed him in the head playfully as she sat near the head of his temporary bed. Tucker and Jazz then went to sit at his feet while they waited.
The four friends sat and talked until Clockwork was able to take off the Cryodisc and send Team Phantom on their way. Danny hesitantly used Jazz for support until he was seated in the Specter Speeder.
"Farewell, I shall see you all early tomorrow," Clockwork nodded after the others returned with their own words of parting. Clockwork then vanished after turning into his old man form, no doubt returning to his constant vigil over Time.
Tucker got at the wheel again and soon they were heading back to the human world at a nice clip. On the ride back, Danny was staring out of the window quietly. Sam was sitting closest to him and could see his deep frown in the reflection of the window.
"Danny, what's wrong?" She asked quietly.
He seemed to flinch at her question before he shook his head solemnly and gave her what she knew was one of his false smiles, the ones he used to lie about how he was feeling or whether he was hurt.
"Just thinking about… my new power. I wonder what I can do with it."
It wasn't really a question as one would expect, more like an empty sentence. She knew there was more to what he was thinking about.
"I bet something good, like you almost always do," Sam replied calmly and with a small smirk, trying to make him laugh about the few pranks and things he'd done with his powers. He didn't seem to reply though. Though still worried for him and knowing he was not happy, she decided to leave him alone. She almost didn't hear him answer her in a soft whisper filled with worry.
"I hope so…"
5/18/18: Second wave of grammar fixes and took out some unnecessary cliches/wording.
6/30/16: Removed irrelevant ANs and answers to questions sections, fixed a few tiny plot-holes and inconsistencies, tried to improve characterization, went through wave one of grammar fixes, tried to ease up on some cliches I didn't know about when I'd started writing this, and made somethings a bit clearer.